Singapore stock trading app makes a splash

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Dinesh Bhatia, CEO of Trade Hero

After being launched only five months ago, Singapore-based TradeHero, a free mobile stock market simulation, is ranked the number one finance app on the Apple store. Inside Investor spoke with CEO Dinesh Bhatia about the tech start-up’s quick success and found out why China is on the radar big time.

Q: Trade Hero is ranked the number one finance app by Apple out of 66 countries. What is the driving force, in your opinion, behind your app’s popularity?

A: Since debuting five months ago, TradeHero has quickly taken the number one rank in the finance category on the iOS app store. Being a contrarian, I’ve found satisfaction in the fact that while those in the industry thought that users wouldn’t really find a use for TradeHero, in reality it has become quite popular. Normal main street investors are always behind institutional and equity investors, but the financial literacy and stock market simulation opportunities offered in TradeHero apply to a wider audience, especially those who enjoy learning and getting tips for how to trade.

Q: In tech start-ups, venture capital acts as a big boost. What kind of seed capital did it take for Trade Hero to take off?

A: We had to muster our own resources to get through the concept stage. Afterwards, we got a small grant from the Singaporean government, which validated what we were doing. The National Research Foundation and TNF Ventures were the two investors in our first round, with the former extending grants to more patent-focused companies, for which we qualified because some of our technology is patentable.

Q: There has been mention of TradeHero’s expansion in the ASEAN region. How are you strategically planning this expansion in Asia and beyond?

A: In the broader strategy, two to three years from now we hope to be the number one mainstay app in the US and China. We believe that China is right at the top of the heap in terms of user penetration rates and adoption. There are probably about 75 million online broking accounts in China alone. Moreover, the mindset of the Chinese is very speculative. Asians in general are used to trading online based on ideas, so we hope to get cradled in Asia before extending outward. We understand ASEAN through our Singapore office and conduct online marketing initiatives for the region in general, but opening up in China, Japan and South Korea will require more local market entry elements for penetration.

Q: Where are your largest markets and how many users are there?

A: Our main markets are Singapore, Thailand and Mexico, which all tie up evenly at about 10 per cent each of our total 200,000 users, which we have all gained since the app’s launch five months ago.

Q: What demographic has shown the greatest interest in Trade Hero?

A: Our users are those who are into or will get into actual online trading, predominantly male, and are of a speculative sort. There are people who are using the software to learn how not to get burned in the stock market. I lost $10,000 to $15,000 when I first began trading, and some people get quickly deterred by these experiences. TradeHero is a good place where people can test their hunch while taking input from other traders. The value TradeHero offers is the opportunity to simulate buying and selling of equities and then validate opinions before moving to a real environment, which would be a third-party online trading account.

Q: Have you considered creating an online trading account linked to TradeHero to allow users to take skills learned and apply them to a real market?

A: Many people have asked me this question recently. I think for the time being it is more important that we focus and make sure users enjoy the experience through our interface. They can already use the tips in a real environment as the platform trades are in real time; they are alerted by instant notifications. But what you said is a real possibility in the near future. However, there are regulatory hurdles based on giving financial advise to individuals, but what we currently have now is social trading in a simulated environment. Ideally, I want to get to 3 to 4 million users before we can think about linking ourselves to a real environment. We have specifically not targeted the US or Europe yet because there is a lot of ground I want to cover before attempting to penetrate those markets.

Q: Trade Hero is due to become available on Android. When will this happen and what value do you see in TradeHero that will help it grow further?

A: Within two months we should have the Android-compatible app ready for the global market. TradeHero will move further because even if stock markets have burned you, all you need to do is jump on this app and start participating in the global economy.

 

 

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dinesh Bhatia, CEO of Trade Hero

After being launched only five months ago, Singapore-based TradeHero, a free mobile stock market simulation, is ranked the number one finance app on the Apple store. Inside Investor spoke with CEO Dinesh Bhatia about the tech start-up’s quick success and found out why China is on the radar big time.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dinesh2
Dinesh Bhatia, CEO of Trade Hero

After being launched only five months ago, Singapore-based TradeHero, a free mobile stock market simulation, is ranked the number one finance app on the Apple store. Inside Investor spoke with CEO Dinesh Bhatia about the tech start-up’s quick success and found out why China is on the radar big time.

Q: Trade Hero is ranked the number one finance app by Apple out of 66 countries. What is the driving force, in your opinion, behind your app’s popularity?

A: Since debuting five months ago, TradeHero has quickly taken the number one rank in the finance category on the iOS app store. Being a contrarian, I’ve found satisfaction in the fact that while those in the industry thought that users wouldn’t really find a use for TradeHero, in reality it has become quite popular. Normal main street investors are always behind institutional and equity investors, but the financial literacy and stock market simulation opportunities offered in TradeHero apply to a wider audience, especially those who enjoy learning and getting tips for how to trade.

Q: In tech start-ups, venture capital acts as a big boost. What kind of seed capital did it take for Trade Hero to take off?

A: We had to muster our own resources to get through the concept stage. Afterwards, we got a small grant from the Singaporean government, which validated what we were doing. The National Research Foundation and TNF Ventures were the two investors in our first round, with the former extending grants to more patent-focused companies, for which we qualified because some of our technology is patentable.

Q: There has been mention of TradeHero’s expansion in the ASEAN region. How are you strategically planning this expansion in Asia and beyond?

A: In the broader strategy, two to three years from now we hope to be the number one mainstay app in the US and China. We believe that China is right at the top of the heap in terms of user penetration rates and adoption. There are probably about 75 million online broking accounts in China alone. Moreover, the mindset of the Chinese is very speculative. Asians in general are used to trading online based on ideas, so we hope to get cradled in Asia before extending outward. We understand ASEAN through our Singapore office and conduct online marketing initiatives for the region in general, but opening up in China, Japan and South Korea will require more local market entry elements for penetration.

Q: Where are your largest markets and how many users are there?

A: Our main markets are Singapore, Thailand and Mexico, which all tie up evenly at about 10 per cent each of our total 200,000 users, which we have all gained since the app’s launch five months ago.

Q: What demographic has shown the greatest interest in Trade Hero?

A: Our users are those who are into or will get into actual online trading, predominantly male, and are of a speculative sort. There are people who are using the software to learn how not to get burned in the stock market. I lost $10,000 to $15,000 when I first began trading, and some people get quickly deterred by these experiences. TradeHero is a good place where people can test their hunch while taking input from other traders. The value TradeHero offers is the opportunity to simulate buying and selling of equities and then validate opinions before moving to a real environment, which would be a third-party online trading account.

Q: Have you considered creating an online trading account linked to TradeHero to allow users to take skills learned and apply them to a real market?

A: Many people have asked me this question recently. I think for the time being it is more important that we focus and make sure users enjoy the experience through our interface. They can already use the tips in a real environment as the platform trades are in real time; they are alerted by instant notifications. But what you said is a real possibility in the near future. However, there are regulatory hurdles based on giving financial advise to individuals, but what we currently have now is social trading in a simulated environment. Ideally, I want to get to 3 to 4 million users before we can think about linking ourselves to a real environment. We have specifically not targeted the US or Europe yet because there is a lot of ground I want to cover before attempting to penetrate those markets.

Q: Trade Hero is due to become available on Android. When will this happen and what value do you see in TradeHero that will help it grow further?

A: Within two months we should have the Android-compatible app ready for the global market. TradeHero will move further because even if stock markets have burned you, all you need to do is jump on this app and start participating in the global economy.

 

 

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